Background: Patients with minimal head injury (MHI) and a cranial computed axial tomography (CAT) scan positive for the presence of intracranial injury routinely undergo a repeat CAT scan within 24 hours after injury. The value of this repeat cranial CAT scan is unclear in those patients who are neurologically normal or improving.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of all adult patients admitted to a level-1 trauma center with MHI and a positive cranial CAT scan during a 32-month period was performed. The need for neurosurgical intervention after repeat CAT scan in patients with a persistently normal or improved neurological examination was recorded.
Results: One hundred fifty-one patients had a persistently normal or improved neurological examination, but none of these patients required neurosurgical intervention after the repeat cranial CAT scan.
Conclusions: A persistently normal or improving neurological examination in a patient with MHI appears to exclude the need for neurosurgical intervention and thus a repeat cranial CAT scan.